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Fleetwood Challenge Cup 2021 launches

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As the world emerges from the coronavirus pandemic, high building vacancy rates are large concern for today’s building owners in the midst of tough economic conditions. Australia’s construction industry faces large demand in the social infrastructure space, lagging productivity, tight labour markets and ageing populations, that are all pressing issues for our industry.

The Fleetwood Challenge Cup: established in partnership with prefabAUS has been designed specifically to tackle the key issues facing the construction sector, while helping to nurture emerging talent and uncover the next generation of built environment professionals.

“We believe a new level of collaboration and fresh thinking is required to push the boundaries to deliver more sustainable, flexible and adaptable building solutions,” said Jason Kunkler, Chief Operating Officer at Fleetwood Building Solutions. “We have created a platform for some of the best and brightest minds to work across disciplines and get exposure to the innovation, possibilities and flexibility offsite manufacturing has to offer.”

The inaugural inter-university cross-disciplinary team challenge was established in 2020. This year, teams of emerging architects, engineers and construction professionals from nine prestigious Universities are set to battle it out in a fresh design competition.

2020 Fleetwood Challenge Cup - University of Queensland Team 2 members: (L-R) Turgut Acikara, Nisarg Satapara, Zidi Yan, Peng Zhao, Lisa Ottenhaus, Hoiching Luk, Boxuan Liu & Patrick Zhao.

2020 University of Queensland Team 2 members: (L-R) Turgut Acikara, Nisarg Satapara, Zidi Yan, Peng Zhao, Lisa Ottenhaus, Hoiching Luk, Boxuan Liu & Patrick Zhao.

In 2021, university teams will face the challenge of harnessing adaptive reuse to reconfigure and/or extend empty buildings by incorporating mixed residential and retail components. Student teams will explore the role offsite manufacturing and prefabrication plays in developing innovative solutions. These can include the benefits of large reductions in on-site construction time, enhanced quality control, safety, flexibility and minimised community impact during construction.

“As the peak body for Australia’s off-site construction industry, we see the Fleetwood Challenge Cup as a great opportunity to showcase innovation in action,” prefabAUS Executive Chair Damien Crough added. “As we emerge from the COVID pandemic with very high vacancy rates, the need to find sustainable ways to adapt, extend and reconfigure existing buildings using prefabrication and offsite manufacturing is more vital than ever before. We look forward to seeing the creative solutions this year’s teams come up with.”

Last year, the inaugural Challenge Cup challenged students to provide a novel solution to address the shortage of affordable housing in Australia and develop flexible designs that could be easily changed and relocated over a 50-year lifespan.

The 2020 competition even led to a New York job offer with a prestigious firm for one of the senior architectural students competing, after her team’s work was showcased to industry professionals.